The Future of News

Ryan Thornburg

Archive for the ‘Tutorials’ Category

How to Cover Live Events: Create an Experience

Whenever I’m trying to figure out a new way to tell a story, there’s a quote from one of the inventors of virtual reality that always pops into my brain: “Information is alienated experience.” Or, like my middle school English teacher used to say, “Show, don’t tell.”

So when you go out to cover an event, don’t bring back a product, a widget, a good, a 10-inch inverted-pyramid story. Use multimedia and interactivity to bring your audience along for the ride. Make them feel like they’re in the room with you. Cover the event live, and then repackage your live coverage to attract the search engine audience.

For these types of stories you should consider:

  • Live tweeting.
  • Streaming video via UStream.
  • Capturing/publishing audio via SoundCloud.
  • Publishing full or editing video on YouTube.
  • Re-using in a regularly scheduled weekly podcast.
  • Posting to the website using Storify.

Live Tweeting Tips

Before the event:

  • Do background research so you have some idea of what you can expect to happen. Because news is when the world doesn’t behave as you’d expect. So first you have to know what to expect. Know the players and the rules. Look at old stories, get a copy of the meeting agenda or the speech text if possible. Check out the group’s website and social media accounts. Check out national press, too, if warranted.
  • Make a Twitter list of everyone you expect to be in attendance at the event — that includes “official” event participants as well as observers.
  • Make another list of anyone you think might be interested in the topic. You might find these are folks who already follow you on Twitter, or folks that have re-tweeted similar stories, or just people who’ve been talking about similar topics.
  • Make sure you know any hashtags related to the event. If there isn’t one, make one up and tell your followers to use it during the event. For the most important hashtags you expect to be used during the event, create a saved search on Twitter.
  • Prepare a few tweets in advance of the event. For example, if you know that someone is going to reference a particular news article or book, have a link to that article ready to send out when the person mentions it. If you use HootSuite, you can save drafts of your tweets. Twitter just added native pre-scheduling of tweets to its clients.

During the Event

  • Get there early. You never know what might go wrong — you can’t find parking, there’s no WiFi, no place to put your camera, room is full, flock of rabid seagulls attacks…
  • Tell people that you’re getting ready to start live tweeting an event. Tell them where you are. Tell them about how long you’ll be at it. You’ll be using your personal account for credibility and intimacy.
  • Listen for key quotes, and either paraphrase them or attribute them: – “Obama: ‘My role here is done.’” or “Obama says he is resigning from office.”
  • Listen for key facts that provide context: -”27% of new students hail from Antarctica.” or “Construction on Gryffindor began in 2011 and was scheduled to cost $3.1B.”
  • Listen for news: “Board voting now on whether to oppose Amendment One.” or “Board’s vote on Amendment One unanimous. Everyone’s opposed.”
  • Provide both “play-by-play” coverage as well as analysis: – “Somewhat unexpected to hear all sides agree on that issue. Where was the opposition?”
  • Use hashtags. Hashtags can be used to help your audience find other tweets on the topic, but they can also help your tweets find an audience that cares about the topic but doesn’t yet know you’re covering it. Finally, you can use hastags for commentary (but be careful with that.)
  • Ask questions of your audience during the event. Questions can either seek information: “Dept. of Labor says it’s still interviewing witnesses. I’d like to interview you, too. Did you see the Vortex collapse?” … or they can seek opinion. “Rides inspected 3x/day. Fairgoers- Is the Dept. of Labor doing enough to keep you safe?”
  • When you receive responses, re-tweet the interesting ones. Think of yourself as the host of a call-in talk show. Re-tweeting adds interesting voices to the live event and puts yourself in the position to mediate a conversation between your followers. That’s creating an experience rather than just a story.
  • Invite your readers to ask you questions: -”Petraeus taking questions now. What do y’all want me to ask him?”
  • If you make a mistake, correct it. If it’s an egregious fact error — “Thornburg found guilty of murder!” — delete the original tweet and send out a correction: “CORRECTION: Thornburg found NOT guilty of murder!” Correct anything that alters your audience’s clear understanding of the event. Misspellings and things like that probably don’t merit corrections. If someone has re-tweeted a fact error that you made, be sure to @mention them in your correction so they’ll be more likely to see it and pass it along, too.
  • Tweet photos and (brief) video. Give people a sense that they are going “behind the scenes” with you — that you’re taking them to a place they can’t go.
  • Interview participants and observers. Tweet a photo and a quote of the person. Be sure to @mention them.
  • When you end your live coverage, tell your audience that you’re wrapping up… and they they can go to your website or print publication soon to see your full wrap-up of the event.

After the Event

  • Use Storify to pull together your quotes. Embed the Storify on your site.
  • Follow-up the next day with a moderated live online discussion with one of the event’s participants. Or just allow your readers to ask you questions. Two good tools to use for live discussions on your site are CoverItLive and ScribbleLive.

Live Audio & Video

With UStream, you can turn your iPhone into a broadcast truck. It doesn’t matter whether the event has a huge following or not, imagine that suddenly you don’t just work for the newspaper of record for in your community but also the CSPAN.

If you want to host your own video talk show, try Google Hangouts On Air like Investigative Reporters & Editors has done.

You know you can use your phone as a camera, but you can also use it to record audio interviews and use SoundCloud to publish the audio on The Chronicle or to a podcast. If you want to dramatically improve the quality of your audio, try one of these little microphones that plug into your iPhone. You can also use this free iPhone app to do some pretty nice audio editing right on the phone.

None of these audio and video tools are going to win you an Oscar. They’re the tools you use when the story doesn’t merit a trained videographer.

Examples

General Tutorials

Tips for Speeches

Tips for Meetings

Tips for Festivals/Celebrations

Tips for Live Q&A Events on Twitter

Data Journalism Class Exercise (Or, Teaching Critical Thinking)

Here’s a great exercise for journalism professors who are introducing their students to data-driven journalism. It provides a good opportunity to show them that they have to get over the common perception that data is unbiased — clean and clear. It gives instructors an opportunity to talk about the need to “interview” the data.

The assignment is deceptively simple: Have the students download the Census Bureau’s list of rural and urban counties and calculate the population density for the counties in your state.

That’s it. Tell them no more. Depending on where they get stuck, slowly reveal to them the clues they need to complete the project. What you may not be surprised to find is that too many college undergrads seem to be accustomed to following step-by-step instructions and too few know how to break down a problem into smaller, sequential pieces. This is the kind of critical thinking skills that they need to be good journalists. Or, as I like to say, think journalistically regardless of their eventual profession.

Helping Them Get Unstuck

Force your students to get a quick start. Don’t let them sit and stare at their computer screens for even a second. Agitate them in whatever way you need to make them feel like an asteroid is about to smash the earth to smithereens. They can’t solve the whole problem all at once, so what are the pieces of the problem hidden inside this big problem?

  • Where can you find the Census list of rural and urban counties?

The answer — of course — is Google. So, there’s an opportunity to teach efficient search strategies.

Students will click around the Census site a bit trying to find what they want. Ask how skimmed and how many read every word on each page. A good opportunity to talk about the way people use information online.

You can help students find the data they need. And from there you can show them basic file-management and Excel techniques. Where does the file download on their computer? What’s the difference between a .csv and a .xlsx file?

With the data open in Excel, they’ll need to sort to filter out just their state. But now what? Ask the students what they think each of the columns represent. What does it mean that something has a POP_UA of 10791 and a STATE of 37?

Once they figure that out, they may note that the data includes some pre-calculated population density. But it’s not the information you asked them to find, so they’ll have to calculate population density — a commonly-needed, very simple journalism math equation.

This gives you a chance to explain that numbers are only meaningful in relation to other numbers. And how to do basic calculations in Excel.

The students will do the math correctly, but they won’t get answers that make any sense. A chance for you to talk with them about how data still has to pass the sniff test. Why doesn’t the data make sense? They can find the answer back on the Census website.

Once they’ve made the correct calculations (how many meters are in a mile anyway?), you can talk with them about how you still need to find the story in the data. Even though their calculations have added value to the data — essentially refining raw ore — mere presentation is of marginal value.

You can top off the conversation by coming back to language, and that journalistic aspiration for precision and objectivity. What does “rural” mean anyway? What does the dictionary say? Is it an abstract concept or something you can measure? How (many different ways) does the Census measure it? How is it different than the USDA’s definition? Which is better? Why?

This is a project that could take several weeks as a module in a college class, or as a MOOC or quick conference or newsroom workshop. Its strength is its scope and flexibility. Just like a good journalist.

Written by Ryan Thornburg

July 17, 2013 at 1:36 pm

Storify Tips for Journalists

Students in my “Social Media for Reporters” class have been working with Storify this semester, most recently on an assignment to cover University Day — UNC’s birthday. This year, the usually low-attention affair was interrupted by the news of the death of one of UNC and higher education’s most influential people of the last half century — Bill Friday.
Here’s what we learned about using Storify as a reaction piece:

  • Students agreed they would be inclined to use it primarily as a tool for summarizing reaction or public sentiment, rather than a tool for replaying the tick-tock of a breaking news event. That may have been because of the nature of the assignment.
  • Don’t write a placeholder headline for your Storify. Once you save it, it permanently becomes the URL of your Storify.
  • If possible, lead with a photo. Perhaps this is a visual convention that comes over from news article Web pages. But images often set the scene for reaction pieces. Images can quickly show the reader the “what” in what might otherwise be called the lead of the piece, allowing tweets and other content to focus on the “so what”. The images that work best are also images with some text on top of them.
  • Transitions are critically important, making the difference between a narrative and what otherwise is merely a spreadsheet of quotes. The transitions you write between Storify elements must introduce the immediate next item. If you describe a state of shock at the news of Friday’s death, the next piece of content can’t be a photo of students standing in line for waffles, which is then followed by a tweet reacting to Friday’s death.
  • Transitions are the paragraph that sets up the quote. Be sure not to repeat in your transition all the information in the quote. Your writing is the “what” and the following tweet is the “so what”.
  • Tweets work better than Facebook posts as content components of Storify, perhaps because of the visual nature of Storify and the brevity of the tweets.
  • Also, we found the interaction between Storify and Facebook to be both unwieldy and unreliable. For example, Storify links would disappear from Facebook pages as we navigated through the site, increasing significantly the amount of time it took us to add content from Facebook. We also experienced unpredictable reliability of Storify links on Facebook — sometimes they would work and sometimes they wouldn’t. We tested across browsers, platforms, privacy settings of content and types of content. But we couldn’t discern a clear pattern.
  • We had two reports of students who said they had to essentially do the assignment twice because of technical difficulties curating and editing the pieces of content in Storify. One had to do with inability to arrange a YouTube video within Storify once it had been added. Solution was to close the browser and re-open Storify.
  • Note that there’s an important ethical issue to consider when using Storify on Facebook content — you can Storify any content that you can see and then make it public — not “Friend” public, or even Facebook-only public. But Everyone public. You cannot do this with tweets.
  • The ending of your Storify is critical. Good endings seemed to be a tweet that either spun the story forward, summarized public sentiment or drove the reader to further interactivity and engagement — a place where the reader could react to the story.
  • As in any reaction piece, you have to be aware of the diversity of your sources. First, consider which kinds of diversity might contribute to different viewpoints. Sometimes it’s racial diversity and sometimes geographic and sometimes political, depending on the story. When journalists mix personal and professional uses on their social networks, they are more likely going to see content that looks like them. Compounding that social and cultural bias is the algorithmic bias — Facebook and Twitter are going to try to give you content its algorithms think you will like. This will be based, presumably, on your previous interactions with content as well as your demographics and the demographics of the people you follow. When using Storify to create a reaction piece, journalists have to go out of their ways to look for different viewpoints. Using custom lists on Twitter and Facebook, geo-targeted searching in HootSuite, and following partisan hashtags or accounts can help mitigate against algorithmic and personal tendencies toward homogeneity.
  • It’s an old conversation, but one worth bringing up again in this context — understand that reaction pieces on Storify are inherently anecdotal and not a valid survey of public opinion. That said, consider whether you should give an equal amount of space to competing points of view regardless of how frequently you see each perspective. Or, whether you should instead try to weight the balance of space in your piece to reflect the frequency of each point of view you found in your search for content.
  • Finally, the mix between “inside” and “outside” sources can dramatically change the tone of your Storify piece. In our case, we had reactions to Friday’s death from both University officials as well as students and alumni. Reaction from officials adds the news value of prominence to your piece, but broad public reaction can increase the news values of magnitude and impact.

We didn’t discuss these in class, but here are a few use cases for Storify I’d like to see:

  • Virtual debate between two or more people on opposing sides of an issue. Take unprompted content from a community and splice it together to create the kind of conversations that seem to be less common in our disaggregated media world.
  • Fact checking of what people say on social media. Use tools to determine assertions that are both common on social media and appear to be based on fact. Even better would be to find assertions made by different sides on an issue, but based on the same set of facts. It might be interesting to note whether we spin each other just as much as our candidates do.

What are your tips for Storify? Share them in the comments below or on Twitter, to @rtburg.

Written by Ryan Thornburg

October 16, 2012 at 9:06 am

Should I Use Twitter Before My Story Is Posted?

Rebecca Putterman, reporter at The Clayton News Star, asked me yesterday whether tweeting bits of reporting as you go along might take away from a story’s potential readership or whet appetites?

The flat answer is that while I’ve heard anecdotes I do not know, but I’m looking for an excuse to conduct some rigorous research into that question. In the meanwhile, here’s how I would think about whether to tweet or not. As in all things, professional judgment is required:

  1. Is the information of immediate use to the audience, especially their safety? (Being useful is not the same as being immediately interesting, although that can also be something to consider.)
  2. Is the tweet a discrete and complete piece of information? Tweets don’t have to tell both sides of the story, but they must be able to stand on their own without further context or explanation. They must have the relevant “who, what, when, where,” but probably not all of those. They almost never have “how” or “why”. (Although that’s just a guess. Another topic that is worthy of research.) Completed actions are probably the most likely pieces of information to be discrete and complete. And assertions by prominent people — “Newt Gingrich just said…” , for example — can certainly be tweeted in some cases, but they require more careful consideration:
    • Avoid tweeting anonymous assertions.
    • Is the assertion from the source about himself or herself? Or is about another person, or something the source purports to have seen?
    • Is the assertion opinion or is it asserted as fact? Assertions of fact require special care.
    • If a fact, how quickly are you likely to be able to confirm to the information with another independent source? Or, if an assertion, how quickly do you expect the other side to respond?
    • How well do you know and trust the source? Have they been truthful in the past? Are they in a position to know?
    • If the assertion turns out to be false, how much damage will be done to the audience? (Your reputation is always damaged if you report incorrect information.)
  3. What is the competitive environment? If you don’t tweet it, is your audience likely to hear the news from a friend or another professional reporter or from the source directly? If you do tweet it, will it tip off competitors or sources and give them the chance to tell the story in an way that may be incomplete or inaccurate before you can get around to writing your own comprehensive article?

When journalists do tweet discrete facts before a full story is fleshed out, they can sometimes do it in ways that add context and whet appetites:

  • Add context — and raise readers’ awareness of missing context — by describing why the fact caught your eye, and what else you plan to report.
  • Invite questions about “tidbits.” Twitter is better if it is a conversation and not a lecture. Questions from readers via Twitter before an article is complete can help make your story more relevant.
  • If a topic has a particularly high level of reader engagement, post that you’ll be offline to write, edit and fact-check your complete story.
  • Tell your followers when and where they can get the complete story: “Film at 11.” (And, of course, deliver on every promise you make.)

Written by Ryan Thornburg

January 10, 2012 at 3:44 pm

[Updated:] If you give a pig a Python …

As part of the Knight News Challenge grant for OpenBlock Rural, I’d like to build capacity of North Carolina journalism students to contribute to the application’s code. It’s not the main point of the project, but it’s an element that will help the longterm sustainability of the community — both the OpenBlock community and the rural communities we hope to serve.
But building that capacity from scratch is no short task. As I’ve begun to map out a class or workshop on it, I was reminded of a book that I read to my kids.

http://www.harpercollinschildrens.com/services/browseinside/widget.aspx?hc.guid=8234244d-0b0f-42ff-bc37-de194c126e61

  • If you’d like to learn how to use OpenBlock, you need to know Django …
  • If you want to work with Django, you’re going to need to understand how to edit files with nano or some other text editor, and you’ll need to know PostgreSQL, and you’ll need to know some Python
  • If you want to use Python in any meaningful way, you’re going to need to install some Python packages, or modules
  • If you want to install Python packages, you have to know how Python works on your computer’s operating system (Mac, Windows, and Unix)  …
  • If you want to know how Python works on your system, you have to be comfortable using the command line of Windows or Unix. You need to be able to list directory contents, change directories, read and change file permissions, manage Linux users, download and decompress files using gunzip and tar commands.
  • … and you’ll need to know HTML and CSS

The paradox of teaching these things to students is that as the user interfaces of Web applications and computers get easier, and their use becomes more ubiquitous the proportion of students with the hacker ethic they need to approach projects like this is reduced. That’s not a dig on students. The better something works out of the box the less the need to tear them apart, fix them, improve them. It’s like me and my car. Wheels turn. Radio works. Doors open. I couldn’t care less how the gears actually shift or how the “snow” traction works.

But I hope we’re not just training college students to be users of technology. College journalism students need an entrepreneurial mindset. It’s not just about teaching the technology. It’s about cultivating an entrepreneurial spirit, a way of skeptical knowing, and a hacker ethic.

 

Written by Ryan Thornburg

September 6, 2011 at 9:48 am

‘Fake’ MLK quote small hint at pernicious popularity of lies

Making its rounds on Twitter recently has been a “fake” quote attributed to Martin Luther King: “I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy.”

Some people — most prominently Megan McArdle at The Atlantic — thought it just didn’t sound right.

The problem is that you can’t prove he didn’t say it. A couple of people have tried, and have come up with a good partial explanation. But disproving something you can’t see is nearly impossible. This is a great example of a problem often faced by reporters — a problem that’s becoming even more vexing with the development of social media. As it turns out, people say a lot of stuff that just isn’t true.

A quick Google search of the quote turns up more than 10,000 results — almost all from Twitter, Tumblr, Blogspot or WordPress posts written since the death of Osama bin Laden. But as I try to teach my journalism students, popularity does not equal accuracy. Ten bad sources aren’t as useful as one good source. Google says that some date as far back as Feb. 1, 2001, but that may be a default date on the Tumblr micro-blogging platform. In any case, date-based search on Google is useless for this effort. (Similar searches on Bing and Technorati were also not effective.)

My favorite explanation, by tech writer Frederic Lardinois, points most of the quote to King’s 1963 book Strength to Love. He found that the one-sentence quote used on Twitter could also be found as part of a longer quote on other social media sites. Most of that quote — but not the first sentence — is directly from Strength to Love. But that first sentence remains a black swan. I can’t prove that King didn’t say it. But I can’t prove that he did. And I can’t figure out where or when in the contemporary digital folklore that the quote originated.  As a recently popular book points out, just because you’ve never seen a black swan doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Europeans had only seen white swans. Until a black one showed up in Australia in 1697.

Taken as an isolated incident he harm from this misquote is pretty abstract. At worst it becomes George Washington’s cherry tree — a story that everyone hears, that has its accuracy questioned, but that cannot be disproved. It muddies our understanding of history and it contributes to a changing narrative that we tell about ourselves, our history and our heroes.

The problem in the era of social media is that these misquotes are rampant and pernicious. Fabricating the words of political nemeses has become an acceptable and common tactic. Check out the archive of fact-checking that Snopes.com has done on fake quotes attributed to a variety of political lightening rods from Sarah Palin to Hillary Clinton. There is a library of fake quotes and fake legislation that gets distributed via e-mail and social networks. They’re complete fiction. It’s bad enough that political leaders — from Sarah Palin to Hillary Clinton — make up stuff all the time and assert it as truth. But it’s as if we’ve suddenly corrupted the value of the First Amendment by acting as if the answer to bad speech is not less speech but more bad speech. Lies are no longer combated by the often difficult-to-ascertain truth, but by more easy-to-fabricate lies.

It’s possible that the person — and it was one person — who decided to “upgrade” the actual King quote with an additional line was unconsciously mashing up King with another speaker. There’s plenty of historical precedent for that practice. Or perhaps she just incorrectly remembered the real quote and didn’t look it up in the book before she posted it to her blog. That happens all the time. I swear my wife told me to get chicken at the store yesterday. She swears she wanted me to get fish.

This happens all the time, and double-checking things that we “know” is probably the hardest habit for my reporting students to acquire. Good reporters — like good scientists — don’t care so much about what you know as they do about how you know what you know. We want to see it. I teach my students that “If your mother says she loves you, check it out” and I play for them a bit of Marvin Gaye — “believe half of what you see, some or none of what you hear.”

The real problem for our nation is the intentional lies that are spread — and spread in a very smart way that adds to the malice of the act. My favorite is the YouTube video that shows Obama talking about “my Muslim faith.” Here’s the clip…. and here’s the whole clip. The 12-second clip — both totally accurate and totally incomplete — has been viewed nearly a million times. The full clip has been seen nearly two million times. But how many looked for the second after watching the first?

With the advent of democratic media distribution anyone can report what they see and hear. But who will look at the world around them and wonder what is unseen? And who will take the time not just to doubt, but to check it out?

Written by Ryan Thornburg

May 3, 2011 at 10:32 am

Social Media and News Judgment in the Classroom

When I walk into the classroom to teach my introductory news writing students at UNC, I remind myself that I’m giving a map to people who have always driven sports cars, but never out of their neighborhood.

Some of the students are younger than Mosaic, and throughout their lives, their access to information technology has outpaced their understanding of it.

The answer to the question of “What is news?” for many of them is “Whatever my friends share on Facebook.” And that means popularity — and for many of them it’s popularity among a narrow subset of people who look, act and see the world similarly — trumps all the traditional news values of impact, proximity, prominence, timeliness, emotional appeal, oddity and conflict.

But rather than try to replace one with the other, I’m trying a technique that I hope will use their familiarity with social media to get them to think more about their audience. Try the following and let me know how it works for you, too.

1. Have the students organize their Facebook friends into various lists, using traditional news values. So, for example, students might organize their friends by geography, share experiences, relationship status, number of friends they have, frequency of posting, or a combination of those. Instructions for Creating a Facebook List

2. Throughout the semester, your students are already required to read the news. But this technique also asks them to share the stories they read with their friends on Facebook. Instructions for Sharing a Link on Facebook

3. The key is that they can’t share a link with ALL their friends. They have to pick no more than two lists with which they share each story. This gets the students thinking about how different audience value different information. Or how different audiences value the same information, but for different reasons. Instructions for Sharing Links With Specific Lists

Sharing an article on Facebook4. Finally, with each link that a student posts she is required to “Say something about this link …” It doesn’t count if the annotation is merely a re-phrasing of the facts in the story. And it doesn’t count if the student merely writes about why she likes the story. The annotation must answer the question “So What?” for that particular list. The goal here is get students to change their belief that writing is about self-expression into a journalistic mindset in which writing is selfless expression.

Journalists have to give audiences what they want and need, and often must go to great lengths to explain to them why they need it. This isn’t paternalism. This is a service, and it’s the same one that attorneys and physicians and financial advisers provide. The choice remains in the customer’s hands. But we — as journalists — have a professional obligation to provide the best advice on the most relevant information possible.

Grading: You have two choices for grading this assignment. One option is to get a Facebook account and require that all of your students friend you and put you on every list they’ve created for the class. That way you’ll be able to see what they’re doing and use your own rubric to score their efforts. The other option is to have the students write a weekly reflection about their experiences sharing stories with their friends. What did they share with whom? How did they describe it? What didn’t they share? Why not? What responses did they get from their friends?

(For the sake of ease, you may consider creating a mock version of this assignment in which students simply write Word documents using imaginary friends, imaginary lists, imaginary stories or use an imaginary social network. But do not do that. It smacks of being phoney. And students — and journalists — hate phonies.

Written by Ryan Thornburg

March 18, 2011 at 12:58 pm

Vote: Online Journalism Textbook Title

Alright, wise crowd. I need you to show me what you’re made of.

I’m writing for college students a book about online journalism. The book connects the traditional elements and values of journalism with new ways of telling stories and engaging audiences. It will start with a discussion of online news values and elements and the unique characteristics of the online news audience. Then it’ll take readers through the gamut of digital media skills and tools, and wrap up with a section that talks about how to make sensible use of the tools to create journalism that’s more engaging and relevant.

But… what should I call it? Please vote below and then leave any comments here.

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Written by Ryan Thornburg

December 16, 2009 at 12:52 pm

Posted in College Media, Top Menu, Tutorials

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The One Tool Your Newsroom Needs Right Now: A Failure Form

The other day I wrote about the need for newsrooms to encourage experimentation rather than innovation. OK, but how? Here’s one tool you can download right now and use in your newsroom — the Failure Form, to be used by reporters and editors who want to pursue a crazy idea.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ryan Thornburg

June 10, 2009 at 9:50 am

Notes From a Semester

The semester at UNC-Chapel Hill is done and the students in “Public Affairs Reporting for New Media” have put together a wonderful resource for learning about and engaging in efforts to curb the state’s high dropout rate.

You can read my notes about their work at http://www.ncdropout.org/node/415
or visit the site’s homepage at http://www.ncdropout.org.

Among the pieces I’ve enjoyed the most are the online journalism tutorials that the students themselves created based on their own experiences hashing through their first efforts and multimedia, interactive, on-demand news story telling. You can see their tutorials here.

Written by Ryan Thornburg

May 6, 2009 at 5:03 pm

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